I'm having an incredibly difficult time writing this blog. I want to be able to word things correctly, so I can get across to you just how I feel. Here goes nothing...
Last night, I attended "Night of The Arts", a talent show of sorts put on by students and staff at Cristo Rey. I wanted to go to be able to support them, as this was the first time they've done something like this. Plus, all proceeds went directly to the school, and since I was once a volunteer at that school, I love to be able to give back when I can. I expected to see some of my old students and friends who teach at the school-what I did not expect was to walk away with a heart full of pride, joy, and inpiration.
First of all, the room where the show was held was decorated with student artwork. Now I've always known our kids had a strong talent in art, but to see it scattered across the room and people walking around admiring it was truly beautiful. Before the show I was able to walk around and catch up with students and friends. I was excited to see so much participation from freshmen, even though I don't know them. It was obvious how excited they were about the school. And, of course, seeing my sophomores and junior was so wonderful. They mean the world to me :-)
So the show itself? Umm outstanding. I got chills in every act. I have to say, though, my favorite part was kids who went up there and read poetry. They were all kids that I have had, all of them sat in my creative writing class last year. Most of them? I had to push to write. They'd come into the class out of curiosty, sit there looking bored, and then write a beautiful piece. They never quite understood how good they were, so I had to remind them- and hound them- to keep writing. I was proud of them for being brave enough to share their writing in front of all those people, because I know how precious it is to them, and how personal it is. They truly shared their hearts.
I also have to give a little shoutout to my buddy Omar. He had a table set up with his photography, and I am not joking you guys, it is some FANTASTIC stuff. That doesn't even do it justice- it should be in magazines, on billboards. Goregous! There was a picture of the Fox Theatre in Detroit that, I believe, could become a famous picture. It makes me extra proud because my roomie, co-worker, and friend, Dave, is the one who pushed Omar to give photography a try, mentored him, and now look at Omar! He is trying to raise money to go to an art program this summer. If you are interested in helping him out, please let me know. He deserves it, and he needs it!
All of the kids- no matter what their talent- displayed such honesty, passion, and bravery. I sat there in the audience with a huge smile on my face knowing that for that one night, they were stars, they were on top. They deserved it. I hope that each of them continue to use art as an outlet, to express themselves through music, drawing, poetry, rap, whatever it is that gives them that hope and that happiness.
I miss that school more than anything. Sometimes it hurts that I'm not "part of it" anymore, but at the same time...I'll always be a part of that place, and those kids will always be in my heart. I will never forget that amazing year I shared with wonderful staff and students. To my co-workers, and to the new staff who continue to do remarkable things over there, I am proud of you too. You are shaping the future. We all know that job isn't easy, and never routine. But the dedication you all have to those kids lives is truly inspiring.